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Two companies move to Fort Ritchie

February 20, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

CASCADE -- Two firms recently have located to Fort Ritchie at Cascade.

Aspen Grove Inc., an independent company that provides property management solutions for bank-owned real estate, is leasing 855 square feet in Building 607 of the former U.S. Army base.

The company will employ three people, according to a press release from the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

The second company is DJR Associates Inc., a Department of Navy and Missile Defense Agency engineering services firm.

DJR Associates officials said they decided to move their corporate headquarters from Frederick, Md., to Fort Ritchie.

DJR Associates signed a three-year lease for 1,500 square feet in Building 504. It will employ four people who handle administrative functions, according to the release.

The company also has locations in Austin, Texas, and Bristol, Tenn.

Buildings 607 and 504 are former army base buildings that were incorporated into the development plan, said Timothy Troxell, executive director of the Economic Development Commission and board member of PenMar Development Corp.

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Three other organizations already have settled at Fort Ritchie -- Microtech Solutions, an electronic engineering and software design firm; Indus Corporation, an information technology firm; and Hagerstown Community College, which operates a branch on the property.

"Seeing jobs return to Fort Ritchie is a wonderful thing," Troxell said. "The redevelopment of this property will have significant positive effects on the regional economy."

The Fort Ritchie property is being redeveloped by Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) of Columbia, Md. The company recently opened a 21,000-square-foot community center and plans to develop a total of 1.7 million square feet of office space and 673 residential units -- all following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards, according to the release.

COPT estimates more than 4,500 jobs will be created on the site over the next 20 years.

The Economic Development Commission is constantly promoting Fort Ritchie to companies and envisions it housing defense-related companies and information technology companies, Troxell said.

Troxell said COPT is in the process of upgrading the wireless telecommunications system on the Fort Ritchie site and constructing a new electrical substation.

"I think as that infrastructure becomes more available, you're probably going to have a better chance of attracting larger-employeed companies," he said.

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